"As a teacher, you can influence your class and those students, but as a principal, you can do it at a greater level. Instead of guiding 30 students, you can guide 30 different teachers with 30 kids each."
"I pride myself on being organized. I keep track of everything with calendars and planners. The program is intense. It's been a busy two years, but it's worth the time and effort in the long run."
After graduating from the University of Iowa with a degree in elementary education in 2006, Eric became a teacher at Sudlow Intermediate. Four years of teaching language and literature to sixth grade students has shown Eric that he has what it takes to shape young minds. He enrolled in St. Ambrose's Master of Educational Administration program to propel his career towards a leadership role that would touch even more lives.
"I hope to become the principal of an elementary school. I chose Ambrose for its quality and convenience. I live in the Quad Cities, and the class schedules are well timed. The program is intense, but I've gained so much valuable knowledge in such a short time."
The curriculum reinforced all the different aspects that I've been taught about administration and the techniques I've been using as a teacher. The class focused on having clear goals for the school, and developing the culture to allow those visions to grow. I carry some of the strategies my professor used into my own classes, like making sure every student is involved and participating.
The program places an emphasis on the value of relationships among everyone-administrators, teachers, students and the community. If you don't have strong relationships, you'll have a hard time being successful. It's made me aware of how important it is to work with people. Now I take the initiative to build on my relationships to improve the school atmosphere.
I also have a greater sense of confidence in the decision-making process in my day-to-day tasks, like filling in as an administrator at the office. I have to make disciplinary decisions when kids get sent to the office.
Everyone is very easy to work with and class is always interesting and insightful. And the professors bring in real-life examples and use them to teach us about topics such as implementing curriculum and second order change. For example, in my Principalship class, the professor had us play out a scenario where we were the principal of a school that was merging with another in the same district. We had to work out the plans to approach the situation and make the transition comfortable for everyone.
The portfolio includes my resume and an activity log documenting the 400 internship hours I completed for the program. I also wrote pages for each of the six standards that all educational administrators must abide by. Not only do we present our portfolio to the Ambrose faculty and my cohort, but we also use it to demonstrate to potential employers that we are well prepared, highly qualified administrators.